4 out of 4 stars
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Is time money? It is one of the themes explored in literal ways in TIMEWISE by Robert Leet. As the title suggests, time plays a vital role in the story. However, in the end, the narrative does come full circle and leaves the reader with hope. I thoroughly enjoyed the book due to its riveting plot and easily handled length.
Despite its strong story, the narrative has geeky undertones of quantum physics. It is suitable for most age groups of readers who are science enthusiasts. The language is simple, and the style is direct. There is no profanity. Except, a couple of formatting errors of unwanted text within pictures, the book is well-edited and generally free of mistakes. The description of physics might be off-putting for some readers. I think the author should be applauded for trying to weave quantum physics concepts in fiction.
The story begins with a first-person narrative of a teenager, Ron Larsen, and the community chess club where he meets his muse, his friend, philosopher, and guide Regina Russo. From this beginning, the story follows Ron through his life, his attaining adulthood, his education, marriage, loss, and then finally his giving back to the community. Ron is excellent at chess. He develops his analytical skills gravitating to study mathematics and earn big money by playing poker. If mention of his poker playing skills gives off a whiff of ‘Good Will Hunting’ or ‘21’ then you need to read the book to see what happens in the end.
The thing I did not like is the formatting errors due to which the lines of text got inserted in the figures. Besides the rare formatting errors, I also found it hard sometimes to keep track of the story line in between the popular science explanation of the quantum theory.
The things I liked about the book are a host of strong female characters and the weaving of the social and philosophical issues along with a fast-paced narrative. After finishing the story, one ponders about the transactional nature of many relationships, the value of patience and kindness, and how a hobby could provide a purpose in life for orphans or otherwise help in building a sense of achievement and have a positive impact on human well-being. It shines a light on the necessity of money to sustain life along with the inability of money alone to provide ‘ikigai’ (a Japanese term translating to a value of being alive). I also liked how egalitarian are the romantic relationships in the book.I rate this book 4 out of 4.
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